Can Cannabinoids Like CBD and THC Combat Endometriosis?
The pain relieving and anti-inflammation properties of CBD and THC are becoming well documented with growing evidence to support the efficacy of cannabinoids as viable treatment options. Cannabinoids have been uncovered to target the fundamental causes of numerous conditions and endometriosis is an example of a condition that could be effectively treated using CBD and THC.
Initial research suggests that cannabinoids could be an effective treatment for endometriosis by causing the following effects:
- Preventing cell migration
- Inhibiting blood vessels
- Stopping cell proliferation
- Regulating the immune response
- Desensitising the nerves that transmit pain
While there is currently no cure for endometriosis, there are various treatments prescribed by doctors. These include painkillers, hormone therapy and surgical procedures which can be risky. All of these treatments are simply to keep the endometriosis under control.
Many endometriosis sufferers seek out natural and holistic therapeutic methods to deal with their condition and the recurring symptoms. Diet and other lifestyle changes can also have a dramatic effect on dealing with endometriosis. Bringing CBD into their routine can lead to further beneficial effects.
What is Endometriosis?
The condition named endometriosis is a painful condition that involves tissue similar to that of the lining of the uterus to mistakenly grow outside of the uterus. Endometrial tissue can develop on the fallopian, ovaries and abdominal locations.
Endometriosis is not life threatening and the excess tissue that grows is not likely to cause severe damage to the body. Unfortunately, endometriosis causes a response to the hormones circulating throughout the body in the same way the uterus does. Each month the endometrium compiles and is then broken down and the tissue sheds.
Unlike menstruation, the tissue and blood from the misplaced cells are frequently trapped throughout the body. This monthly pattern can become excruciating and results in triggering inflammation and scarring as the body finds it difficult to reabsorb the dead material.
Life can be challenging for people who suffer with endometriosis. Many endometriosis patients find that they are susceptible to anxiety and depression and many endure years of suffering with the pain before discovering that it is endometriosis that is causing the pain. It can be a devasting and debilitating condition which can become even worse due to the side effects of some of the drugs prescribed to treat the conditions especially if the sufferer ends up on antidepressants.
The commonly incurred symptoms of endometriosis are:
- Menstrual cramps
- Chronic lower back and pelvic pain
- Painful bowel movements
- Painful urination
How is Endometriosis treated?
A cure has yet to be found for endometriosis. The treatment options for endometriosis often consist of focusing on the management of the patient’s symptoms and trying to prevent the endometriosis from spreading. Three of the most typical treatment options are:
Painkillers – The most common method of dealing with endometriosis is to prescribe a painkiller. Anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesic painkillers can help an endometriosis sufferer deal with the painful symptoms of the condition. However, these painkillers do not do anything to stop the condition from worsening.
Hormone Treatments – Hormone therapy is believed to alleviate the symptoms of endometriosis by causing a reduction of the strength and quantity of menstrual cycles. Many patients do not respond particularly well to hormone therapy.
Surgery – The endometrial tissue can be surgically removed which can result in tremendous pain relief. Unfortunately, with surgery there is a high risk of complications and over 50% of endometriosis patients who undergo surgery have their symptoms return within a year. Ovariectomy is another surgical option, both this surgery option and natural menopause ends the cyclical nature of endometriosis. However, the pain caused from permanent endometriosis scar damage may persist beyond menopause.
What Causes Endometriosis?
To develop more effective treatments, more research needs to be carried out to ascertain the precise nature of how endometriosis develops and persists. Currently, the most commonly believed theory is that the menstrual blood flows in the wrong direction and this carries endometrial tissue to the fallopian tubes, ovaries and abdomen. There is also speculation that it is external toxins that cause the body to spontaneously produce endometrial cells in the incorrect areas of the body.
Cannabis and Endometriosis
Cannabis is widely used around the globe to treat endometriosis, menstrual cramps and other gynaecological complications in the body. THC and CBD have the potential to be effective therapies with minimal side effects.
One specific reason why scientists are positive about the use of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC is that the body’s natural endocannabinoid system is integral to the healthy operation of the reproductive tract. Imbalances in these neurotransmitters are commonly linked to reproductive issues and diseases, including endometriosis. The concise use of phytocannabinoid supplements, transdermal patches and suppositories could make a massive difference in the underlying imbalance.
The body usually has the capability to prevent the growth of aberrant cells and can eradicate them before they cause a problem. This process is called apoptosis. Apoptosis is impaired in those who suffer from endometriosis. The endocannabinoid system is acutely involved with apoptosis and preventing cell growth. The most famous application of manipulating the endocannabinoid system is in cancer treatments. Certain cannabinoid receptors are activated by either the body’s internal endocannabinoids or via external phytocannabinoids like CBD and THC. This effect can prevent cancer cells from multiplying.
Can CBD Prevent Cell Migration?
For those who have their endometriotic lesions removed by undergoing surgery, endometriosis unfortunately often returns. Scientists have recently discovered that endocannabinoids are fundamentally involved with the regulation of cell migration.
Molecules such as CBD can prevent endometriotic cells from migrating, they do this by blocking the GPR18 receptor from being activated. It must be said that, molecules like THC could in fact activate this receptor and increase cell migration. This would suggest that women who decide to self-medicate with THC should consider counterbalancing their intake with CBD.
The nerves that innervate endometriotic lesions can increase the pain of endometriosis. These particular nerves contain endocannabinoid receptors (CB1) and when THC activates this receptor it can cause a decrease in pain.
CBD can have pain relieving effects by desensitising the pain receptor TRPV1.
Researchers and doctors remain in the process of discovering all of the different ways in which cannabinoids such as CBD and THC can impact endometriosis and standardised medical advice concerning the use of cannabinoids for endometriosis could still be many years away from coming to fruition. This means that careful self-experimentation may be the best way for patients to try to use cannabinoids to treat their symptoms.
Cannabinoids like CBD and THC may be a fantastic alternative to anyone who is currently taking constant pain medication or is on anti-depressants, the side effects of these drugs are significant and CBD could be a method of reducing the consumption of painkillers with negative side effects and a the potential to cause long-term damage to the body.